Haunted Locations

Silent Hill is based on a truly creepy town: Centralia, Pennsylvania, small town hidden in the smoke…from the fire that has been burning under the city for over 40 years.
SilentHill-Centralia_sidebyside / Fair use doctrine.The town was originally called Bull’s Head by founder Alexander Rea, whom purchased the land from a Revolutionary War hero, and signer of the Declaration of Independence Robert Morris. The town’s name was changed to Centreville. The town found out there was already a Centreville PA so they changed the name to Centralia. On Oct 17th 1868 Rea was murdered by an Irish gang called the Molly Maguires. In the 1890s the population of the town was 2,761. It was a bustling little town with five hotels, 27 saloons, seven churches, 14 general and grocery stores, one bank and one post office. It became such a nice little town because of the Anthracite Coal buried on the outskirts of town.
hauntedlocations-centralia-antiue-coalmine / Fair use doctrine.It was pretty common in the 60s (still a few now) for landfills to burn trash heaps. In Pennsylvania, after all, you don’t have to worry about brushfires, right? In the spring of 1962, it began. The fire of a burning trash heap made it to the coal. Still it burns. Of course there were several attempts to put it out, lots of tries, lots of research, lots of time wasted.
Some left pretty quickly. After all noxious gas, and the ground erupting for steam pockets that would boil hauntedlocations-centralia-warningsign / Fair use doctrine.your flesh it not what many would desire in a nice place to raise a family. It took some of the towns people years before they would leave their beloved town. Many of the houses and buildings had retaining walls built around them to keep them standing, once their neighbor building was torn down. Then come 1983, August, the greater part of the town’s residents decided to relocate the town. Finally the Federal Government has approved $42 million for them to do just that. The Centralia Mine Fire Acquisition Relocation Project has begun.hauntedlocations-centralia-roadcrackedup / Fair use doctrine.
The town has became an odd tourist destination and spook spot for many of us thrill seekers just for the look of the place alone! The fog, well smoke, rolling through the town, the cracked, gaping streets, the creepy cemetery, the creepy church…Center Street Cemetery-Centralia, Pennsylvania / Fair use doctrine.
Make sure to check out Graffiti Highway while you are there.Graffiti Highway-Centralia_sid / Fair use doctrine.ebyside
Find out more about the town’s history here.hauntedlocations-centralia-graveyard / Fair use doctrine.
SPOOKY LOCATIONS: The Real Silent Hill

SPOOKY LOCATIONS: The Real Silent Hill

Silent Hill is based on a truly creepy town: Centralia, Pennsylvania, small town hidden in the smoke...from the fire that has been burning under the city for over 40 years.
SilentHill-Centralia_sidebyside / Fair use doctrine.The town was originally called Bull's Head by founder Alexander Rea, whom purchased the land from a Revolutionary War hero, and signer of the Declaration of Independence Robert Morris. The town's name was changed to Centreville. The town found out there was already a Centreville PA so they changed the name to Centralia. On Oct 17th 1868 Rea was murdered by an Irish gang called the Molly Maguires. In the 1890s the population of the town was 2,761. It was a bustling little town with five hotels, 27 saloons, seven churches, 14 general and grocery stores, one bank and one post office. It became such a nice little town because of the Anthracite Coal buried on the outskirts of town.
hauntedlocations-centralia-antiue-coalmine / Fair use doctrine.It was pretty common in the 60s (still a few now) for landfills to burn trash heaps. In Pennsylvania, after all, you don't have to worry about brushfires, right? In the spring of 1962, it began. The fire of a burning trash heap made it to the coal. Still it burns. Of course there were several attempts to put it out, lots of tries, lots of research, lots of time wasted.
Some left pretty quickly. After all noxious gas, and the ground erupting for steam pockets that would boil hauntedlocations-centralia-warningsign / Fair use doctrine.your flesh it not what many would desire in a nice place to raise a family. It took some of the towns people years before they would leave their beloved town. Many of the houses and buildings had retaining walls built around them to keep them standing, once their neighbor building was torn down. Then come 1983, August, the greater part of the town's residents decided to relocate the town. Finally the Federal Government has approved $42 million for them to do just that. The Centralia Mine Fire Acquisition Relocation Project has begun.hauntedlocations-centralia-roadcrackedup / Fair use doctrine.
The town has became an odd tourist destination and spook spot for many of us thrill seekers just for the look of the place alone! The fog, well smoke, rolling through the town, the cracked, gaping streets, the creepy cemetery, the creepy church...Center Street Cemetery-Centralia, Pennsylvania / Fair use doctrine.
Make sure to check out Graffiti Highway while you are there.Graffiti Highway-Centralia_sid / Fair use doctrine.ebyside
Find out more about the town's history here.hauntedlocations-centralia-graveyard / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Alan Smithee in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, 0 comments
HAUNTED LOCATIONS:  The Hippie Tree

HAUNTED LOCATIONS: The Hippie Tree

Not far from the old State Hospital in Traverse City lies the graffitied remains of an old willow tree that is known as the Hippie Tree. The tree gets its name and graffiti from the multitude of people who have made the journey there to meditate under its branches in an attempt to gain some otherworldly insight and leave their mark on it.
Many legends and stories have been told about this tree and the surrounding area. Some say the spirits of former patients from the nearby abandoned mental hospital haunt the area. Some say the area is inhabited by the ghost of a young boy murdered there by an escaped mental patient. There are even some people who claim that the area itself is the gateway to Hell if you walk a certain pattern around the tree. The true story of the tree and its origin are probably lost to time amongst the tales and legends.
After reading about the Hippie Tree online, I decided to try to locate it and see for myself what all the fuss was about. I assembled my team of crack ghost hunters (myself, my girlfriend, and my thirteen-year-old son) and we hit the road in search of spirits and adventure.
After a quick stop for lunch at Taco Bell, we made our way past the old asylum and parked near a school across from the hiking trails that take you to the Hippie Tree.
The hiking trails are well maintained and clearly labeled in the area and the tree itself is even noted on the main map when you enter the trailhead, which is kind of nice, although somewhat disheartening as I imagined the place to be crawling with tourists. We hiked up the trail a bit and took what we thought was the first right and promptly got lost. Actually, we weren’t lost, we just took a wrong turn and ended up making a big loop instead of the more direct route to the tree.
Hippie Tree 02 / Image: Richard FrancisAfter realizing our mistake, we oriented ourselves and continued on the trails through a beautiful forest and across a few trickling streams. Well worth the extra time in the woods in my opinion.
Hippie Tree 03 / Image: Richard FrancisThe trail leading down to the Hippie Tree is hard to miss, with all the brightly colored graffiti everywhere. It’s quite beautiful to see in person. Normally I’m not the type of person that enjoys graffiti. In most cases, and particularly in nature, I feel it detracts from things. But in this case, it seems to fit. You could wander up and down that tree for hours taking in all the little details. The bright, vibrant colors seem to tell their own story of the area.
We all sat there for a while taking in the surrounding and seeing if we could feel some presence of the spirits that are said to inhabit the area.
Nada. The only presence we felt was that of the couple that came down there to sit on a branch and eat their lunch, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t spirits. Unless spirits like to stop by the drive-thru at Wendy’s on their way to a haunting.
We walked around the Hippie Tree a few times like we were told to do in order to open the gates of Hell. Nada there, too. The only thing that opened the gates of Hell that day was the Taco Bell we had for lunch.
Maybe we just aren’t that in touch with the spirit world, or maybe spirits weren’t that interested in us. Or maybe Saturday is a day off for ghosts. Maybe we caught the ghost during the shift change and they were busy. It doesn’t really matter to me because it was a good day to be out in the woods, enjoying nature and I’m glad we went. Maybe that’s what the spirits wanted me to take away from the experience. A beautiful day enjoying the wonder of nature with the people I care most about.
If you’re ever in the Traverse City area of northern Michigan you should check out the Hippie Tree.Hippie Tree 07 / Image: Richard Francis
Posted by Richard Francis in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, HALLOWEEN, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 2 comments
HAUNTED LOCATIONS: The Shanley Hotel

HAUNTED LOCATIONS: The Shanley Hotel


The Shanley Hotel should be on every horror fan's 'Haunted Locations Bucket List'! You will certainly experience something - from rocking chairs to children's laughter to distinctively piano music.


The Shanley Hotel, located up in the Shawangunk Mountains of New York, has an unusual history. It burned completely down March 18, 1895, from a fire that started at a neighboring house, but by November they were up and running again. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, train travelers would rest here. Many workers working on the D&H canal lived here, and locals would come here for a drink and to socialize. It was the popular spot to be seen. There have been several owners, but the most prominent owner, James Louis Shanley, was born in Ireland on Halloween. 😉

James married Beatrice Rowley in 1910, and the town held a big celebration. The whole city admired Mr. Shanley, so his marriage was a big deal. Mrs. Shanley fixed the place up elaborately. She was a socialite and would have tea parties and card games.

The Shanley Hotel - The Rose Room

The Shanley Hotel - The Blue Room

The couple had three children, but all passed away before their first birthday. There were other deaths and odd occasions that I will get to later.

Mr. Shanley added a bowling alley, billiard's room, and a barber shop. The Shanleys held fancy parties, card and domino tournaments. It was the happening place! Thomas Edison and Eleanor Roosevelt visited often and were close friends of the Shanleys. Eleanor made sure The Shanleys were there at the Inaugural Ball when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president. On the other hand, Shanley also put in a gentlemen’s club, which was raided once and resulting in Shanley being arrested for fighting with one of the investigators. He was also charged with having a lot of liquor (wine, whiskey).

The residing barber had a daughter who, while playing, fell in and drowned in the hotel's well, and Beatrice's sister also died on the property of influenza.

In 1937, James passed away from a massive heart attack. Beatrice did not sell the property until 1944. Interestingly, the man who bought it was born on Halloween a few years after James. Even more interesting is this new owner, Allen Hazen, would die on the same day as Shanley did.


The hotel is still a popular spot, only now it is popular among ghost hunters. As a matter of fact, Ghost Hunters investigated here in their 7th season (episode 17).

They will even reserve a spot for you to have a very special birthday. 😉

56 Main Street
Napanoch, NY 12458
845-210-4267


The Shanley Hotel

Posted by Alan Smithee in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments